What exactly is quiet quitting all about?
I tend to not jump on new trends too quickly. I like to wait to see how they shake out.
But it seems like this one is sticking, and I feel it’s worth discussing – particularly from a leadership and pro-positive culture perspective.
A Bit of Personal Background in Work/Life Balance
For those who don’t know me, I started my own small home building company in 2008 – in the middle of a recession.
At that time, I had been working for a large corporation with a high-level position. I was willing to jump in headfirst to start my own company because I worked 70+ hours per week, never saw my two-year-old at home, and never seemed to be able to keep up.
Quite honestly, I wasn’t managing my time in that season of my life in the best way.
I left my job because I thought I had no balance, no life and felt I had nothing to lose. I was right. It was well worth the risk.
But it didn’t have to be that way.
I made a commitment to create a company that would not be that way for myself – or for anyone else who worked for me. I’d accomplished my goal.
I worked hard for myself. But I had never worked for a more demanding and insatiable situation as I did before that in my previous job.
Why was my company successful?
It achieved a work/life balance before the term had even gained notoriety. My employees worked for me because they were talented and didn’t want to work in a culture that demanded so much of them.
That was the beginning of a small movement where there was a greater demand for more from the culture of companies.
The Pandemic Hits: Quiet Quitting Becomes Trendy
The pandemic rocked everything.
We had no idea what was going to happen, but there was one reality: the workplace would never be the same again. The “new normal” was a term that was used before anyone even knew what the new normal was or would be.
We began hearing of quiet quitting, which is a symptom of what was already brewing before the pandemic. It was exacerbated by the pandemic and exists more openly now.
Quiet Quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.
- A voice that is telling the business world what it is willing to accept.
- A movement that is all about putting its foot down
- Standing for a new boundary and requiring more of companies and work life from now on
Add the labor and talent shortages that every company faces, and the world is now paying attention to that voice.
Companies that have been slow to adjust and change their thinking that everything would go back to the way it was before are hearing a message that they weren’t prepared for…they may be left with no choice but to listen.
Why Did Quiet Quitting Develop?
To understand Quiet Quitting, we must first look at the culture that we stand for as Leaders of our companies.
We must ask ourselves:
- What do you value?
- What is most important?
If money is the only thing that matters, then I would suggest an adjustment to your culture, leadership, and workplace expectations. It is a worthwhile exercise in an effort to protect and maximize your bottom line.
For most companies, however, you likely care about all those things and more. These issues don’t have to work independently from each other; they can co-exist and support each other in ways that create thriving, successful companies and cultures as a result.
How Leaders Can Conquer Quiet Quitting
If you want to address and work through the quiet quitters and the movement itself, the best way to do so is to start by developing the Leaders you have in your organization.
Evaluate whether you have the best team that matches the culture you want to create and support their development.
- What do we stand for as a company to serve business AND the culture, the people, the humans who work here?
- What is the expectation of our new normal based on the circumstances we have in front of us right now?
- How can we create an incredible culture that not only appeals to top talent, but inspires them to excel and push themselves further than they believe they are capable?
The well-thought out, strategic answers to these important questions will be what sets organizations above the rest.
On Quiet Quitting, For My Millennial & Gen Z Listeners
I have two real-life stories to share with you:
A family member (Pete) who owns an insurance firm was conducting interviews. A young interviewee (no spouse/children but with a large friend group) said that what was most important to them was work/life balance.
Pete told him that he was absolutely right and that it should be a part of his consideration in any company where he interviews.
The question you need to ask yourself is:
- What company culture and management team can I best earn the freedom, trust, and empowerment to achieve work/life balance?
- Which one will allow me to make the responsible decision when it comes time?
That’s how you choose where to work right now – at a time when you don’t necessarily need it – knowing there will be a time when you really do.
Is Fulfillment in Work Really Possible?
My next story involves a conversation I had recently with a college senior, who is just starting to shape her ideas of a career, finding the right job and fulfilling her passion.
She shared that she thinks it’s highly unlikely that anyone ever gets to find a job that they are passionate about and that is fulfilling. She thought perhaps the better strategy was to just “get a job” and find passion and fulfillment elsewhere.
I first told her that I didn’t believe that to be true at all. Her response: “Really?”
I explained that finding a career that is fulfilling and fills our passions is absolutely possible – and that I am an example of it – having found it not once, but twice in my life.
I think of it as a journey. My suggestions?
- Don’t put so much pressure on the decision.
- Make a decision, learn from it, create relationships.
- Discover what you like and what you don’t.
- Find mentors and role models to watch and inspire you.
- Pay attention to yourself enough to recognize when something grabs and sparks you. Let this be your guide.
- Decide in advance what will/won’t be possible, meaning you won’t be watching and listening when something does grab you.
Once you find “it”, you no longer focus so much on what the work/life balance is that the company offers. You know from your best and most authentic self what work life balance needs to look like for you and the situation you choose.
Life Lessons: a Work-in-Progress Perspective
Each one of us are a work in progress – no matter what life or career stage we find ourselves in.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Just because it’s “the way it has always been done,” doesn’t make it right, doesn’t mean it’s the ONLY way, and doesn’t mean that’s how it should always be done.
- Define what you really want from your company culture and for your career – outlining your priorities allows you to focus – so you don’t get caught up in the weeds.
- No matter how many hours you choose per week, our careers are many times the highest percentage of time we spend doing any ONE thing. We deserve to create the life we want within it.
My Thoughts on Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing
Quiet quitting. Quiet firing. They are the same.
I perceive quiet quitting or quiet firing as a cop-out. Why?
Because it’s selling yourself short and it’s passive-aggressive. It’s not coming from a real, true place of empowerment that lives within you.
Take your power back. Live as if you are in control of your own outcome – because you are. You can create the results you want in your life – whether you are trying to or not. So why not have 100% control of your own future and path? You get to decide.
Make choices that align with who you are and what you most want in your lifetime, earlier rather than later.
If you found these perspectives helpful, check us out at Strive Leadership Development to see what our Leadership Certification is all about. You will love what you can gain from it.